Saturday, September 11, 2010

So maybe I'm not cut out to be a blogger...

I recently heard that things like facebook were making young people narcissistic. Really?!?! Wasn't it just a few years ago we were giving everyone trophies because kids had no self-esteeem? You know what people? Kids have a lot more strength and character than we "adults" think. Good. Let them be narcissistic. It's good for them. This is a narcissistic marketplace they are entering into when they are out there in the world.
Hence blogging... an ode to narcissism. Some of us feel that our thoughts are just SO clever that the whole world clearly wants to read them. I like to peruse the writing jobs on craigslist. It's amazing to me how many of them are for bloggers. Have you ever looked at lists of blogs?? There are like billions. There are also people who follow tons of them regularly. I think I used the RSS button once and never figured out where stuff was going. Maybe that explains the weird column in my inbox??? Nope, just checked it, Apple put it there so I can always see what's available to buy from apple. It then refreshes the next day to show me the new thing and how yesterday's thing is out of date. But with all these bloggers... they're still looking for more??? It amazes me what they are looking for too. So many of them say that they are looking for "sleek," "upscale," "witty" writing for an "exclusive and hip audience." Well pin a rose on your damn nose because you must be one of 300 similar blog sites. Maybe these sites are still looking for people because, like me, aspiring writers who did not grow up with blogging and facebook are just not narcissistic enough. How do I know if my writing is "sleek"? That doesn't even make sense!!! Shiny horses are sleek. My slender, shiny dog is "sleek." I know what they are trying to say, but if you think about it enough, it's stupid. That's right, although I pride myself on having a large lexicon (which is also the name of a wine! that bottle is a keeper, even if it ends up tasting like crap) sometimes we need to use the most simple adjective and sometimes that adjective is "stupid." So why is it that words like that intimidate me so much that I stop at perusing these jobs rather than applying? I feel like I might not be "hipster" enough to join the "blogosphere." Oh yeah. Apparently this is a word. This is a word that describes this network in the "interwebs" (another word I don't fully get) that involves frequent bloggers and their blogs- I think. How do these people have time to work, sleep EAT??? How can they keep on top of all of these blogs, write their own, and find out about the politics of which they write?? Hell, I clearly can't update this more than once a month and all I write about it craigslist and facebook! Apparently that is the bulk of my "interwebs" experience!

Before I completely trash modern society and start quoting my grandpa whose favorite saying is "In the good old days when times were tough" let me say that I think the modern-day narcissism is a great thing. I'm glad kids want to write stuff. Yes ELA (that's middle school for 'English class') teachers, texting, tweeting, blogging, and facebooking are all writing! They may not have an intro, a conclusion and three body paragraphs, but kids still need to put a bit more thought into something they are writing as opposed to something they just say. It's a good thing! I'm glad kids feel the need to tell the world that they "like" the page entitled "I hate it when people talk behind your back for no reason just because you got on the cheerleading team and they didn't". Is that so different from the "Mean people suck" patches we sewed on our backpacks? Maybe I can learn from this narcissistic younger generation. That's it, I'll keep putting my thoughts out there into the "blogosphere" and maybe someone will read them! No, OF COURSE people will read them!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Facebook's fault???

No excuse. I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't kept up the blog like I said I would. I'd like to think I probably have had some interesting things to say over the last two months. I can't use work as an excuse! Why was I able to do it in Spain??? I blogged every single night! Oh, now I remember. I wasn't on Facebook! I love coming up with my little one line status updates! Now I just need to expand those into a post! I should really post before I allow myself to fall into the mindless occupation of looking at people's boyfriends/girlfriends and wondering what their children would look like! I could probably wait a half hour before finding out that a girl I never spoke to in high school is no longer in a relationship (but, c'mon, admit it, sometimes that is really exciting!) Well, I'm vowing to live with no regrets. I'm writing now, today, that is what is important.

So speaking of blaming Facebook, I was recently told that 30% of marriages have ended due to Facebook!?!? Is Facebook the enemy here or is it just a new avenue for cheating? Why did marriages end before Facebook? Beer? I'm still not sure how to take this statistic. It's understandable. You're sitting there all cozied up with your laptop, just you and your entire social network. The things going on around you in the "real world" somehow fade off into the distance. There they are, that old flame, smiling up at you- maybe a suggestion from another page- you click on, just out of innocent curiosity. Twenty minutes later you now know everything they've been doing and that they are recently out of a relationship! Now this can go one of two ways. You can be motivated to post really attractive pictures of yourself and go the "eat your heart out sucka!" route. Before anyone assumes that I'm making some big confession or speaking from personal experience- know that this is the route I take! I'm a big fan of "eat your heart out" and have been known to say it loudly after saying "Yes, I am this hot and happily married" in various drinking establishments. My husband need not worry. I enjoy seeing how poorly the men of Facebook have aged while he, 8 years my senior, seems to get younger and better looking every day. I know that just sounds sweet and all, but seriously, the guy might be the real-life Benjamin Button!!!

The other route seems to be the temptation in to which 30% of married people are apparently giving. I'd be interested to talk to these people. Are they thinking this is the second chance with the one that got away? Are they thinking that fate, and not Mark Zuckerberg, brought them together? Are they just horny and drinking wine while Facebooking and this leads to no good?!?? I'd be interested to see the lifetime movie that is inevitably in the works based on a Facebook affair. I'd also like to see how these relationships turn out in like 5 years. I'd like to do some sort of social study. I could be nosey in the name of anthropology!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blowing the dust off the old blog

Well, it's summer again and I need to feel productive while I sit on my porch procrastinating about packing!!! I can't believe I've slacked on this blog so much!!
A lot has changed since last summer when I started the blog. For one, I'm no longer thirty, but I'll keep the name the same!!! I am happy to announce that with the help of Weight Watchers and the gym I have lost 10 lbs!! Yes, that's right all you mathematicians, that's a pound a month! Hey- its better than gaining and its certainly enough to make all of my summer clothes too big!! I clearly didn't care enough about my appearance last summer as all of my clothing seems to gravitate towards a sort of female construction worker theme. Well, baby, I'm unearthing my college tank tops and living it up with my 10 little pound loss!!

Also happy to report that the Puppy Experiment has worked wonderfully. Molly is here, strong, healthy, and the love of our lives. She is such an awesome pup!! We've realized the importance of exercise and have been taking her to the dog park regularly. We are now totally a part of the dog park community and I continue to correct people who don't follow dog park rules! She was nice enough to help me clean out my school bag and ate an ez grader, pay stubb and kohl's coupon. Oh well, had to go to Nordstrom instead!!! She may or may not be eating a pool toy at the moment, but she's quiet!

We continue to be busy homeowners. We survived a basement full of water and I actually painted a porch- both with a lot of grumbling and complaining!! I keep waiting for someone to tell me that there is a point when everything is done. Nope, guess that doesn't happen. With a black dog and a black cat, there is a constant layer of black fur all over the house!! Oh well, if you come over, wear black pants!!! No summer white pants (which I bought a pair of for Vegas where nothing is inappropriate!! hehe) here!!

Ok, I'm re-commited to the blog! I now have a fancy phone and can add to it every day! I need to keep the creative juices flowing, write my novel, turn it into a movie, make lots of dough and retire at 45! Hey, who says I don't plan!
Please feel free to comment and let me know you're reading, that will keep me motivated!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making my peace with the Olympics

Somewhere in my late teens I started to really hate the Olympics. I know what you're thinking. Who can hate they Olympics? Its like hating Santa or the Tooth Fairy. Well, back when those two were a big part of my life, I used to love the Olympics. I had the Dorothy Hammill haircut even though I hadn't been born yet when she was in the Olympics. I found a book about her at the library and decided she was my idol- in all things including hair style. I would watch figure skating in awe of the beautiful, sparkly outfits. I used to think it was so romantic when the men lifted the women in pairs skating. I used to go out on the frozen pond and imagine- no, I didn't imagine, I was fully convinced- that I was just as graceful as the girls I saw on tv as I scuffed along in my little training skates with two blades per foot. When it came time for the summer Olympics, you can be certain that I ran around our little living room jumping and twirling and log rolling. I can still remember going to a birthday party at a gymnastics place and thinking that I had really arrived at the places where dreams came true and Olympic stars were born! Maybe, just maybe, an Olympic trainer would see me and my artful leap into a pit of dirty foam squares in a hand-me-down, too small bodysuit and decide that she must take me on and give me free lessons because talent like mine was just too precious to waste!

By high school, my formal athletic experiences were comprised of a parks and recreation ballet class, baton twirling class and self-abbreviated season of softball. I had decided that I hated all things sports related. I hated sports, those who played them, and the white hats they wore. Of course, there was underlying resentment because I had never had the lesson or opportunity to excel at sports, but only years of maturity and therapy would make me realize that- at 16 its much easier to embrace your inner Courtney Love, pile on another flannel shirt and glower at the "jocks." When I would catch glimpses of the Olympics, it seemed like all of the athletes participating were now YOUNGER than me. It felt like a reminder that my chances at Olympic victory, or just even learning a sport, had come and gone! Stick a fork in me, I was done! Thus my hatred of all things Olympic and athletic was born.

Something has changed for me in these last two Olympics. First, my husband liked the Olympics and I could only ignore them so much while they were on in my living room. I also changed. I had discovered the gym and realized that I actually could control what my body was doing. The Olympics also seemed to be different, or maybe I was just noticing other things. Dana Torres was 41 and kicking ass in the 2008 Summer Olympics! There were plenty of teenie-boppers running around but here was Dana Torres, a full decade older than me, with an amazing body and doing really well. I also learned to appreciate what the Olympics do for people. There is so much negativity in the adult world. We go to work, people are negative, they complain. I think people really just need something in common to talk to people about but for some reason this becomes complaints! We complain about our boss, the weather, the traffic, the boss, facing the traffic in the weather... The Olympics and sports give us something good to focus on, something positive. I think we crave this so much that we embrace the Olympics. Its hopeful and positive and bright and colorful!

This year, in the winter Olympics, I have found true inspiration! Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from Ghana, the "Snow Leopard" is the first Ghanaian representative in the sport of skiing. This guy didn't even see snow until he was in his twenties!! Now, at 33 he is in the Olympics wearing a FABULOUS leopard-print skiing outfit. Good for this guy!!! There was nothing- not age, not money, not situation, not social class, not geography- nothing that kept him back from doing what he wanted to do!! What a feeling that must be for him when he stands at the top of the mountain in Vancouver, remembering skiing in Iran and Turkey. What a feeling as he thinks about the kids he is trying to teach to ski on grass skis!

This year, I tried skiing for the first time since I was 12 (when I had crashed into a fence and decided I HATED it!). I was terrified and started out the day feet in the air and crying. But I persevered. I took a lesson. I went very slowly. I stopped a million times to adjust my dollar store ski socks. I did it. I conquered that bunny slope. The bigger slope- well maybe I had to walk down that mountain with gloves on my feet and boots in my hands- but i mastered that bunny slope!!! What an amazing feeling. After years of "I can't" I finally realized that "I could"!!! Yes- you can teach an old dog new tricks!!

So now, when I watch the Olympics, I am inspired by what these people accomplished and I think about what I might accomplish. I feel like I can share in the positive energy with my fellow Americans! Instead of resenting the athletes, I look to them for inspiration- especially the ones who are my age! As for me- Ms. Becky has decided that instead of lamenting the years I have wasted not being able to practice my triple toe loop- I am going to start taking figure skating lessons! Hey- you never know, you may see me in 2014!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why does 'thirty' sound so much cuter than 'thirty-one'?

So do I have to change the name of my blog now that I'm 30+1??? Does the word thirty-one have the hyphen I keep putting in it? I always messed that up when I had to write articles in college. No one makes a fuss about 31. Thirty is iconic. Thirty makes you question where you are in life, what you want, who you are. Thirty seems to be a big turning point for women, the start of a new decade- the make or break decade if you haven't yet given birth. The birthday itself is big! People are happy for you! For some women its a bit tragic. They resist this new decade. Some of these women have really a mean cousin who, only two years shy of 30 herself, buy them things like denture glue and Depends on their thirtieth birthdays! Still there are balloons, the thirtieth birthday is seen as an event, a milestone!

So where does that leave 31 and its lack or presence of hyphen? By the way, it has a hyphen, I checked the dictionary. There are no 31 balloons. You are now "in your thirties." No one wants to know what you're doing for the "Big 3-1". I solved this by throwing myself a party. There are no big questions, no further need to define oneself. Oh great, that must mean that every thirty-one year old knows exactly who they are! Nope! Unfortunately not the truth, it's just that no one wants to ask the big questions anymore!

Well, let's make 31 iconic, as well as 32, 33... and so on and so forth. A woman's life shouldn't be dictated or defined by her age. I know that's cliche but I think it needs to be said. We may not be able to answer those big, self-defining questions at 31, 32 or even 52. Too often we are told where we should be in life- we should have a job, a husband, a house, a kid, a budget. We start to think that we are deficient in some way if we are not doing what society seems to think is important. We should read online publications, do yoga, give up sugar and white bread, have at least 3 idevices, eat fat free Greek yogurt. But even those presumptions are not clearly defined for today's thirty-something. At least there was a show to define things in the 80s ("Thirtysomething.") For us, are we too old to like the Jersey Shore? Are we too young to watch Antiques Roadshow? What if we like both? We have to watch TV in secret for fear of one or the other being not age appropriate.

So, tell me... who is today's thritysomething????

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Upstaters" love us some craigslist!

Craigslist started out as a network in the trendy San Francisco Bay area and in fifteen short years, the very non-trendy Hudson Valley region of New York State has taken it and ran with it like only we can! If you live in New York City, you probably consider Westchester County almost upstate and where I live, a bit further up the Hudson River, completely upstate! I happen to think that you're not officially upstate unless you can't take a Metronorth train to the city. If you don't live in New York, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about! Anyway... I am a big fan of craigslist and so are my fellow "upstaters."

I remember back in my twenties (Oh my goodness, that sounds sooo old) when I used to take the 85 minute train ride into the city on weekends to hang out, I would hear people talk about craigslist and of course I would nod and pretend I knew exactly what they were talking about. I would claim that I couldn't really comment on the conversation because I didn't use craigslist because I didn't trust it. I was also telling people that I was from Westchester and living on the Upper East Side. Oh how easily the lies poured out of the mouth before I embraced my country-bumpkinness!

The truth is, craigslist wasn't really something that was widely used outside of major urban centers ten years ago. Oh lord have things changed! I guess because so many more people have internet access in their homes up here in more rural settings, craigslist has really caught on. If you compare the various regions, you can get a flavor for the contrasting populations. Really, its not hard to see why we up here love craigslist. This is the land of the yard sale!! Where else do people make an entire day of driving around with a Pennysaver from one yard sale to the next? Try driving around any one of the rural Hudson Valley neighborhoods on Junk pick up day (for my urban friends, that is the day you put all your junk that doesn't fit in your garbage can on the curb). There are people who LIVE for this day!!! They drive around at 10 miles per hour examining every pile to see which pieces of garbage they can possibly salvage. Why do they want those things??? BECAUSE THEY ARE FREE!!! We love free/cheap stuff!!! We also love getting money so when we saw the possibilities craigslist offered to try and make a few extra dollars (to spend on Quickdraw and beer... C'mon who are we kidding??) we ran with it!!

Take a look at some of the ads we post on craigslist... if someone is selling a table and chairs, you would imagine they would be photographed nicely in a clean kitchen, perhaps with a small centerpiece. Not up here baby! That table is in the basement, that's where it will be pictured with beat-up cardboard boxes and the boiler in the background!!! Selling a bedroom set? You would think it would be in a bedroom with nice linens. Ha!! That white laquer and mirrored (think that scene in Goodfellas when Henry Hill and his mistress are blowing lines and sweating and about to get caught) set is in the driveway in front of the 1975 Ford pick up truck!! Just to add class, the picture was taken with a camera phone. Need to furnish your dining room? Its hard to imagine how a hutch will look in your home when it is covered in your entire collection of Country Goose plates! Just watch out when people describe things as "shabby chic." HA!! Usually... just shabby!! Even though it is 2010, something purchased in the 80s is not yet '"vintage" or "antique" especially if you purchased it in Caldor.

All of this being said, I'm totally all over Craigslist and have furnished a good deal of my house with things I've found on craigslist and am constantly trying to sell my crap on there... I am a proud upstater who loves a bargain and to make a buck when I can. On an interesting note, the lower-income areas have taken up something that was once once exclusively for urban dwellers, usually those with higher incomes. Since the recession, the popularity of things like Kmart and Walmart, long time standards up here, has grown in urban areas... So my urban, financially challenged friends, I invite you to come on up this summer and we can cruise for crap on bulk pick up day!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back again!

Oh its amazing the things one will do instead of grading tests!!! I haven't touched my blog since August!! I've been busy! Molly came into our lives and a big chunk of my summer was taken up with making hourly trips to the yard!! Lame excuse- I totally still could have been blogging!

So since I last wrote, we have officially adopted Molly. She is a mix of a black lab and a plott hound. She was born on St. Patrick's Day 2009- hence her Irish name!! She is the sweetest little (not so little anymore- 45lbs and growing!) thing on the earth. She has such a gentle and loving personality. We can't believe how quickly we have become attached to her. Ok- so it was not lost on me that my need for a dog has a bit to do with my biological clock.

Having the dog has increased my activity level... slightly. I do go on more walks (when it is not raining- while Molly comes from two strong, hunting breeds, my little princess does NOT like the rain!) but I now have a new excuse not to go to the gym "have to get home to the dog!!" I have, however, been a member of Weight Watchers for 10 weeks. If I had been minding my ps and qs I'm sure I would have lost more than 5 lbs. But hey- this is the longest I've ever kept going to the meetings!! It really helps that I'm going with my mom. When she told me that she wanted to go back to Weight Watchers and maybe I wanted to go with her, it was her gentle way of telling me I needed to lose weight! Knowing that she is counting on me to take her to the meetings helps me to stick to it. Now by stick to it, I mean show up and get weighed. It would be great if I also meant counting my points and staying within them.. oh well, all in good time!!