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No Mom, You Didn’t Cause My Eating Disorder

January 5, 2017
No Mom, you didn't cause my eating disorder

I actually said this to my mother today: “No Mom, you didn’t cause my eating disorder”, really, she didn’t. Last week, I made the mistake of telling my mother I was bulimic when I was younger. I didn’t mean to tell her. I knew if I did, it would turn out just like it did. And yet, when it happened, I was unable to stop myself.

A Little Backstory

For those of you who are new here, my mother is in a nursing home, she has been for 10 years. She experienced cerebral hypoxia when I was 4 years old, due to pneumonia. It resulted in severe brain damage with memory loss and physical disabilities. She has a horrible short term memory – think Dory in Finding Nemo, except not as funny. It actually can be funny at times, but mostly it’s just aggravating. Growing up my mother asked what time it was every five minutes, or she’d ask if I had done a chore that I’d completed when I got home from school, over and over again. In addition to the memory issues she also had physical disabilities – mainly difficulty walking, grasping things and anything having to do with coordination. You can read more about my mother’s disabilities here – My Mother has Dementia and it Sucks, and I Made My Mother Cry…Again

I Am Not Carrie Fisher

Every since Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died, my mother has been obsessing on my book. Again for those of you who are new here, I wrote a book, a memoir actually, called Minnesota Nice. I have not published it yet, for a variety of reasons. The main one being that my mother asked me to wait until she had passed away before I publish. My father asked me the same thing except when he asked me I hadn’t written it yet. Anyway, my mother now confabulates our mother/daughter relationship with Carrie and Debbie’s. There are surprisingly many similarities between the two. Regardless, she has decided that I must publish my book so I can capitalize on the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Mom would have been an awesome blogger if she could type faster than two words a minute. 

It is Confusing

I know, it’s confusing. What does my book have to do with my eating disorder? My memoir is about growing up in a fucked up home. My mom had her disabilities and my dad was gay, but shoved so far back in the closet only the family knew about it and we weren’t talking about it. Well, except my mother was, to me, when I was way to0 young to understand any of it. She mostly drank Manhattans, smoked Benson and Hedges cigarettes and cried to me how my father was out banging all the cabana boys at the gay bar. In addition to those concerns, I was a below average student in a school for above average children. Oh, and I was fat. 

Dementia Sucks

Even though my mother says she wants me to publish the book now, I don’t believe her. She has changed her mind about this for the last five years, or as long as she has known it existed. For the longest time she was convinced she wrote it and that Merv Griffin was going to turn it into a movie. According to my mother, Merv was a resident in her nursing home. For the record, he was not, he died in 2007, and as far as I know, never lived in Minnesota. Wow, this all sounds crazy! Anyway, she goes back and forth about me publishing it so I figure since I won’t be able to put the genie back in the bottle I’ll wait. 

More Backstory

The reason I want to wait, is because there are a few things about my younger years that she doesn’t know about. The eating disorder was one of them, the very least troubling of them. She thinks I want to protect her from sharing the story of my parent’s marriage so publicly. I don’t, it was messed up, but there was a deep connection between them. And besides, it turns out everyone knew about my dad. Turns out he wasn’t very good at hiding things.

I was. I was very good at hiding my bulimia. So when my mother challenged me the other week – when she said she knew everything there was to know about me – I threw out my eating disorder to test the waters, so to speak.

I knew it was a mistake right away. I could see the words hanging there in front of me, practically, and yet I couldn’t pull them back.

Of course, her first response was that yes, she did know about it. 

And suddenly I was 14 years old again and ready to go to battle with my mother.

“What do you mean you knew about it?” I asked, “why didn’t you do anything?”

She didn’t know, I know she didn’t know, but there I was ready to fight. My blood pressure rising and my fists clenching at my sides.

My mother would often cop to knowing something she did not know. Partly because of her memory loss. She couldn’t remember what she couldn’t remember so she often confabulated or just outright lied. It was about pride more than anything. She hated to admit she had any disability and she was needed to be in control of things. 

That was last week. The visit ended and I didn’t think much of it, I just hoped she’d forget about it in a few minutes like most things.

Of course the big things she shoves into her long term memory as quickly as possible. 

When I arrived this week all she wanted to do was talk about it.

Sigh.

It’s really old history to me. I haven’t been bulimic since the mid 90s. I don’t want to go down that memory lane. And yet, I opened this can of worms – so there I was.

No Mom, You Didn’t Cause My Eating Disorder

Mom had decided that she was the cause of my bulimia. She wasn’t, I don’t know how she made that leap, but she was sure it was her fault because she “ruined my life”, her words, not mine. I tried to convince my mother that she hadn’t caused my eating disorder and that she had in fact, not ruined my life. We have a very complicated mother/daughter relationship and a difficult history, but, I tried to explain, it was character building. 

“If we didn’t have such a screwed up home, I wouldn’t have a book” I told her. “If you want to blame anyone for my eating disorder blame the school I went to, it was a pressure cooker and I wasn’t the only one there with an eating disorder, in fact it was quite common.”

She laughed at that, at first, and then she started crying again because she sent me to that “god awful” school, her words, not mine. 

I didn’t want to tell my mother about my eating disorder because I didn’t want her to feel responsible – she wasn’t, but also because as a mother myself, I know how difficult it is to hear about your child’s pain and be unable to do anything about it. I’ve changed history for her in a really shitty way. She’s helpless to help because it isn’t an issue anymore. 

As I left, she was smiling. 

“Say hi to Carrie for me,” she said.

 

 

Blogging Events Minnesota Minnesota Nice People

Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women

January 4, 2017
Movies You'll Want To See: 20th Century Women

File this under Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women. As a Minnesota blogger and influencer (yeah, I cringed just a little when I typed that last word) I get advance screening tickets to some pretty great movies including Moana, that last Star Wars movie and now 20th Century Women.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this movie before I got the invite and I was hesitant pass on the info because the title doesn’t really do much for me. It doesn’t give me enough info about the movie which makes me suspect it’s trying to hide something.

That’s silly on my part because it has Annette Bening in it. 20th Century Women also has Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup in it. Also, it takes place in 1979 which is when my story, Minnesota Nice, begins. 

As a single mom to a son, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to relate to this story. The few minutes I saw of the trailer made it clear this is one of those movies that gets under your skin and stays with you for a while. I’m looking forward to seeing it next week.

If you’re in the Twin Cities and would like to attend an advance screening of 20TH CENTURY WOMEN  starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig & Elle Fanning  on Thursday, January 12 at 7pm at Landmark Lagoon, then download a FREE pair of passes by clicking on the link below (while supplies last). Please be advised that this screening is overbooked to ensure a full house. Seating is first come, first served, so arrive early to guarantee a seat!

Link to download passes: http://www.gofobo.com/qbVrn81486

Advice Blogging

2017 New Year’s Resolutions Worth Keeping

January 1, 2017
2017 New Year's Resolutions Worth Keeping

Happy New Year! If you’re of the belief that 2016 sucked, these 2017 New Year’s Resolutions worth keeping might be just what you need to make sure 2017 kicks ass.

Yeah, a lot of celebrities died this past year but it wasn’t because the year actually anthropomorphized and started taking them down. A lot of great people died because they were old, many died because of poor health and a whole bunch of them died because they abused drugs. It sucks that we lost so much talent last year, but it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Realistically, it’s going to get worse before it gets better – aging Baby Boomers and all that good stuff. 

We also had an election that most people are pretty upset about. While most of the piss and vinegar seems to have quieted, there’s still a lot of big talk on social media about….well, I’m not really sure what. There’s a lot of complaining, but so far there hasn’t been any sort of plan put forth. At least not that I am aware.

To a lot of people, it feels like the world is about to end. 

It’s not. I mean, sure anything could happen, but I’m pretty sure WW3 isn’t going to start due to a stupid 3am tweet. It might be embarrassing and humiliating as a country to have that sort of thing taking place, but we’re not going to war.

How do I know this? I lived through the cold war, we worried about WW3 all the time  because we had an old crazy man in office for 8 years. Nukes never fell. It worked out pretty well actually.

However, I understand that a lot of people are worried.

I get that. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to make 2017 a better.

2017 New Year’s Resolutions Worth Keeping

Be Like Mariah – Last night Mariah Carey had some technical difficulties and gave a horrible New Year’s Eve performance to millions of people live. The internet erupted with disgust, anger and judgment. Mariah doesn’t give a fuck. “Shit happens”, is all she had to say about it. She shook it off and moved on. She didn’t apologize and she didn’t engage with all of those people saying she just ruined her career. Be like Mariah, stop feeding the trolls and do your thing. Don’t worry about what other people think about you, just be and do your best.

Laugh More – Watch old I Love Lucy shows or Seinfeld or whatever show makes you laugh. Hang out with funny friends and laugh until you shoot Diet Coke out of your nose. Laughter really is the best medicine so take it often. You’ll be happier and healthier if you do.

Stop Dieting – Stop denying yourself the foods that are satisfying and start eating what your body craves. I’m suggesting you eat pizza and drink milkshakes for each meal, but I am suggesting you can stop pretending that kale is actually edible. 

Agree to Disagree – Without being a douchebag about it. This past year really brought out the worst in all of us. For millennia we’ve managed to discuss thoughts, beliefs and idea without ripping into each other (I know, that’s not really true, but let’s just pretend it is). If you read something on social media with which you don’t agree, you can simply move on. You do not have to engage, but if you do you can, and should be, civil about it. 

Get Out and Live – Shut down your computer for a few hours each day and get out into the world and actually experience it. Spend time with people – laughing – go out and try new restaurants, learn to dance, take a cooking class. Anything, just get out there and enjoy yourself. 

Be Kind – Do your best and assume everyone else is, too. Spread kindness by complimenting those around you and especially yourself. Refrain from petty arguments and looking at the glass as half empty. The glass can be refilled, that is what’s important.

Happy New Year!

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do Events Food Kids Minnesota Minnesota Nice People Pets politics Recipes Reviews Things I Really Like Things that piss me off Writing

Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

December 31, 2016
Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!

I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.

There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.

No One Ever Said There Would Be This Much Cat Vomit

Blog Posts about the Election

I really didn’t think he’d win, and I might watch too much Walking Dead.

How to Survive the Trumpacolypse

How to Prepare for the Post Election Apocalypse

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!

Blog Posts about my Relationship with My Mother

My relationship with my mother is difficult at best, but it isn’t unique. I also posted a story from my book, Minnesota Nice. 

Life Isn’t Fair

I Made my Mother Cry… Again

Do You Know your ACE Score?

Recipes

I cook a lot this year, mostly because I got an Instant Pot – the most awesome thing ever!

Shrimp Alfredo in 7 Minutes

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hot Dish Instant Pot Recipe

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish Recipe – Seriously, if you try a new dish in 2017, make it the MN Tater Tot Hotdish, you won’t be sorry. 

Best and Worst in Books and Movies and Blogs

I saw and reviewed several movies this year, they aren’t worth sharing here except for one exceptionally horrible movie I really hoped would be awesome. It wasn’t.

Independence Day Resurgence Review

Life Changing Books

Bloggers who Blog

Prince and Jacob

2016 was a year of loss, but these two are still difficult for me to reckon with. 

Summer in Minnesota 2016: We Lost Prince and Found Jacob

On the Passing of Prince, from a Minnesotan

#NaBloPoMo Blogging WTF?

Already Over this Manequinning Thing

November 8, 2016
already over this manequinning thing

Have you heard about #mannequinning? Apparently it’s the newest thing people do to annoy the other people (aside from talk politics on social media). #mannequinning is like planking except instead of working your abs you simply stop whatever you’re doing and hold the pose. We called it playing Statue when we were kids. My understanding is you do this in a group and hold the pose long enough to take a video of everyone not moving.

I just heard about this new craze sweeping the nation, this morning on my local news, KARE 11 did a bit about it and everyone struck a pose right before the weather.

An hour later, Al Roker is doing it and I am officially already over the mannequinning thing.

Ugh.

 

#NaBloPoMo Advice Blogging Writing

Already Behind on NaBloPoMo

November 7, 2016
#NaBloPoMo 2016

No one should be surprised that I am already three posts behind on NaBloPoMo. I’ll get caught up today, and yeah, this one counts.

I love the idea of writing everyday but I also love the idea of writing posts that are actually interesting, entertaining or even outrage producing. I don’t like the idea of boring people to death. If you like those kind of journal entry blog posts, then take look in my archives for the first year when no one was reading me. They’re all boring as hell and don’t do anything to enlighten anyone.

Let me back up a bit, if you are just starting out in the blogging world you’re going to write some pretty lame stuff. It takes practice and for the most part only a few posts will hit it out of the park. You’re lucky if you entertain yourself. Keep at it, that’s the point of NaBloPoMo, to get in the habit of writing regularly, even when you have nothing to say.

Some of my best posts were writing about the mundane. My all time favorite post, and one that still makes me laugh, is my post titled How Not to Leave a Comment. It was a post I wrote about comment etiquette. People rarely leave comments anymore, they save that for Facebook or Twitter or SnapChat, it’s too bad because some of the most fun I have ever had happened in the comment sections of my favorite blogs.

If you’re already behind on NaBloPoMo, keep at it. Don’t be discouraged and don’t quit. Get caught up if you can and if you can’t, it’s not a big deal. Just keep writing. You’ll look back and see how much your writing improved by the mere act of doing it.

It’s a simple concept actually, practice makes perfect, or fake it ’til you make it, whichever one works for you, just do it.

 

#NaBloPoMo Blogging

NaBloPoMo 2016

November 2, 2016
#NaBloPoMo 2016

It’s November so that means it’s time to stop shaving and start blogging. NaBloPoMo 2016 started yesterday and I am all in (so far).

This is the first time I’ve done one of these 30 day deals. I’ve had many friends over the years take part in NaNoWriMo, and honestly, I think they’re nuts. I could probably pull off 50,000 words in a month, but the odds of them coming together in one cohesive piece of work is a completely different thing. Which is the point. The idea is to write, get the words out and worry about the editing later.

NaBloPoMo 2016

NaBloPoMo is similar but instead of writing a portion of that 50,000 word novel each day, you only have to write one blog post a day. And, the blog post you wrote yesterday doesn’t have to have any connection to the blog post you write tomorrow. You just have to write a post.

I can do that.

Even though I have never published 30 consecutive posts in one month on the same blog (for work I write many, many more than that each month, but for several different blogs), I am confident I can do this. If I can come up with 30 topics, I can easily write the posts.

If you’d like to take part in #NaBloPoMo 2016 head on over to Blogher and sign up. If you sign up before November 5th you’ll be entered for a chance to win tickets to Blogher 2017 (it’s in Orlando next June!!). If you have more than one blog that’s ok, you can sign as many blogs up as you have the time to write. You can even follow join the Writing Lab Facebook group for daily writing prompts.

I learned of #NaBloPoMo from Melissa Wells at Suburban Scrawl, so I’m going to pay it forward like Melissa did and link up anyone who wants to participate. Feel free to leave your link in the comment section and I’ll add it to this post.

Alright then, let’s blog our butts off!

 

Blogging

Bloggers who Blog

October 26, 2016
bloggers who blog

A few weeks ago I asked Facebook if any bloggers were still blogging. I received quite a response from all of you who are still blogging, so I created this Bloggers who Blog list. Feel free to visit all of sites listed here. You may find a new gem! I’ve been making my way, and leaving a comment, on each of the blogs listed. I hope to finish visiting everyone by the end of the week.

Feel free to add your own link to the Bloggers who Blog list by leaving a comment with your URL, I’ll add your website to the list. All I ask is that you visit at least 5 blogs on this list and leave a comment. It’s a great way to create good Blog Karma (really, it’s a thing).

Feel free to share this post with other bloggers who may not have seen the original post.

Bloggers who Blog

http://greenmonkeytales.blogspot.com

http://annssnapeditscrap.blogspot.com

http://www.twobearsfarm.com

http://afcsoac.blogspot.com

https://theycallmetater.com

http://freethinkersanonymous.com

https://bookdragonette.wordpress.com

http://www.abkeuser.com

http://mylifeasjenny.blogspot.com

http://www.amundsenhouseofchaos.com

http://bentobjects.blogspot.com

http://annsrants.com

http://elizabethdownie.blogspot.com

http://debshere.blogspot.com

http://www.goodgirlgoneredneck.com

https://tammydotts.wordpress.com

http://jennybristol.com

http://beautysmack.com

http://friendsfurevercatblog.blogspot.com/2016/10/wordy-wednesday.html

http://mwfreebies.com/

http://amyoops.com/

http://readingauthors.blogspot.com/

http://yaknowstuff.blogspot.com/

http://www.sparklecat.com/

http://www.shotinthedark.info/

http://www.sparklyshoesandsweatdrops.com/

http://john-sealander.blogspot.com/

http://www.wedonthaveitall.com/

http://ilikeitfrantic.net/

http://www.militaryfamof8.com/

http://losethecape.com/

http://katbiggie.com/

http://www.janegoodwin.net/

http://tasha326.blogspot.com/?m=1

http://www.gweenbrick.com/2016/10/special-specialist.html

http://www.lifeofabusymommy.com/

https://cheapbebes.blogspot.com/

http://www.kiddgoods.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MeganFreebieOlson/

http://nonamedufus.blogspot.ca/

http://erikhare.com/

http://stormsisterspatique.blogspot.com/

http://mommybrainreports.com/

https://modernfatheronline.com/

http://www.blogelevated.com/

http://www.pamaramadingdong.com/

http://thebloggess.com/

http://www.roses2rainbows.com/

http://savingdollarsandsense.com/

http://www.myqualityday.blogspot.com/

http://www.woojr.com/

http://www.ithoughtiknewmama.com/

http://www.pyleoflove.com/

http://kissmyglitter.com/

http://www.eviljoyspeaks.com/

http://creatingmyrealitynz.com/

http://www.justjasmineblog.com/

http://www.dragonblogger.com/

http://www.la-story.com/

http://mommytalkshow.com/

http://espressoconleche.com/

http://thinkspin.com/

http://www.thedustyparachute.com/

http://mjgolch.blogspot.com/

http://fabgrandma.com/

http://www.dnbustersplace.com/

http://www.junkdrawerblog.com

http://livingthegourmet.com/

http://www.shoot-me-now.com/

http://www.taketimeforstyle.com/

http://www.throwingchanclas.com/

http://www.mydishwasherspossessed.com/

http://www.twentyfouratheart.com/

http://www.followmygut.com/

http://laughing-stalk.blogspot.com/

http://www.bigcheesedad.com/

http://www.nicoleolea.com/

http://itsaofoa.blogspot.com/

http://michellegrewe.com/

http://blogginglearn.com/

http://www.orient-lodge.com/

http://www.rodneylacroix.com/

http://www.contestqueen.com/fromthe

http://asimplelifereally.blogspot.com/

http://happilyblended.com/

http://jeffandjillwentupthehill.com/

https://www.facebook.com/makecentsofit/

http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/

http://stacysrandomthoughts.com

http://samanthagluck.com/blog/

http://foodfunfamily.com/

http://www.amundsenhouseofchaos.com/

http://redheadranting.com/

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do WTF?

What a Difference a Coat of Paint Makes!

October 17, 2016
What a difference a coat of paint makes

I painted my office this weekend and OMG — what a difference a coat of paint makes! I didn’t have plans to paint my office this weekend, but I’ve been listening to You Are a Badass this past week and it seemed like the thing to do.

Wondering how a coat of paint makes you a badass?

It doesn’t really, but when you hate your office, because you have slowly started hating what you do each day, you realize you need to make some changes to your day to day life.

My office was originally my bedroom, but when my daughter moved her bedroom upstairs (because she couldn’t move it downstairs – long story short, the contractor got paid and then never did the work, so the room isn’t up to code, so she can’t sleep down there), where my office had been, I moved my office into my bedroom and my bedroom into my daughter’s old bedroom.

Why musical rooms?

This house has like 5 grounded outlets. All the rest of the outlets are the two pronged type. Also, there was no outlet even remotely close to a window in my bedroom so I couldn’t use a window air conditioner. The daughter has a grounded outlet right by the window so it made more sense to make that my bedroom and my poorly outlet-ed bedroom my office.

Whew! Did you catch all that?

Old houses might be charming, but they suck when it comes to using modern day technology in them.

What a Difference a Coat of Paint Makes

When my daughter moved upstairs we painted that room and her old bedroom/my new bedroom, but after all that painting I didn’t want to paint anymore and just put all my office crap in the old bedroom.

I have a lot of crap.

Because I can shut the door, the room attracts even more crap.

Getting back to the book…

So I’m listening to You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and she’s talking about being more positive and how to bring out the best in you and reaching your full potential all that other good stuff.

If you’ve read this blog for very long (or just look at the name of the blog) you can probably tell I don’t get into all that self help/feel good shit.

In fact, I bought the book a couple of years ago and it never quite made its way onto my cell phone to listen to on my walk.

And then it did and it was like the universe was trying to tell me something.

PAINT YOUR OFFICE

That’s what the book was saying, at that moment, to me.

So I did.

Actually, here’s how it went. I lost a couple of big gigs several months ago. This happens all the time and I can usually replace them pretty quickly. In fact I did, and then I lost that one too. Both times they wanted an in-house writer and I live a couple thousand miles from the office.

I dusted off my resume and started looking for a real job.

And it was cool because this time there is actually a real title for the job I do – social media manager – and I started applying like a mad woman.

I figured I’d have a completely new job in no time. Screw this freelancing stuff, I was going to have an actual job. I started day dreaming about it going into an office, decorating my cube and having real people to talk to during the day besides my dogs.

I even had a few interviews.

And then nothing happened. Oh, I got offered all kinds of jobs, just none of them had anything to do with social media management. I get offered a job at Farmer’s Insurance every other day. I also get offered a job to sell meat on the street.

Seriously —  Meat On The Street.

I hadn’t planned on getting depressed looking to replace one or two gigs, but here I was, the only jobs I could get was selling insurance (which I have already tried) and selling Meat On The Street.

I don’t even buy meat on the street because I am pretty sure that’s how you get e.coli, and I don’t want e.coli, and I certainly don’t want to be responsible for all the people who are willing to buy meat on the street for their e.coli.

So I started listening to self help books to at least make me think I was doing something productive.

Come to think about it, I don’t think it says anywhere in that book to paint your office. I might have just come up with that on my own. But it makes sense if you think about it – I hated my office because it was such a horrible shade of orange and it was so cluttered it was like working in a storage locker or something.

You Are A Badass talks about how you should have faith, be open to anything, and to go with the flow.

If you know me, I am not really a go with the flow kind of person. I like my routine, I like to know what to expect each day. And each day I was getting offered a job selling Meat On The Street.

Saturday morning I decided to go with the flow and paint my damn office. It took me two days, and pretty much all of seasons 1-3 of The Walking Dead, but I finished it last night and I am thrilled with the results.

Not only do I have a much nicer (and more calming) color of paint on my walls, but in the process was forced to get rid of a lot of the clutter.

Of course, most of the clutter is still on my dining room table, but that will give me something to do next weekend.

Which has got to be better then selling Meat On The Street.

 

 

 

Blogging Contests Writing

Flash Fiction

November 16, 2015

This may or may not go anywhere, but this weekend on Facebook I read about a lot of my blogging buddies from days gone by who miss blogging but never take the time to write anymore (maybe because we spend all our time on Facebook?). I learned that a few blogging friends had given up their blogs and that just made me sad. I don’t expect to singlehandedly restore the glory days of blogging but it would be nice to visit that community again. This month is Nanawrimo, something I have never done and don’t expect to any time soon, or even next year for that matter. Writing 50k words in a month is an amazing feat and my hat is off to anyone who can do it. The thing is for many writers it’s just too daunting so they don’t even try. So I figured why not do a little flash fiction (or non fiction), even just a few words worth, to stimulate the writer in all of us?

These are the rules today but they’ll probably change as I take a little more time to actually think this through. Think of this like that scene in 8 Mile where Eminem just jumps in and starts rapping. Basically, don’t think too much about your story, just start telling it and see where it goes. It may not go anywhere, and that’s okay too.

I’m going to leave a prompt at the end of this post. If you want to participate just start telling your story in the comment section. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar, just tell your story. Ideally I’d like to limit it to an hour and then close the comment section but there’s no way to tell when people get notified of the post so I’m going to leave it open all week. I would just prefer people not spend time preparing and just get to the writing. If enough people participate we can do some kind of voting and maybe even have a prize.

Feel free to share this post with other writers or people who would like to give it a shot.

Good luck and here’s your prompt:

The plane was delayed….

Blogging Books Contests Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota People Things I Really Like Writing

I Saw The Bloggess!!

November 5, 2015
The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson at U of MN bookstore

I saw the Bloggess!!

(an unintentional homage to Jenny Lawson)

I don’t mean to be a name dropper but I’ve seen my share of celebrities over the years. When I was 16 my parents sold our house to Garrison Keillor. I had no idea who he was but my grandfather sure thought he was the shit! I used to babysit Nick Swardson of Grandma’s Boy and Reno 911 and bunch of other movies. I ate lunch in the same restaurant as that woman who sang the song Downtown…. what’s her name*??? And, I stood behind Kevin Garnett or maybe it was Kevin McHale** at the Giant Slide at the MN State Fair once. So, I’ve rubbed shoulders with some pretty well known celebrities, I don’t get star struck very easily. At least I didn’t until I learned Jenny Lawson was coming to town to promote her new book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

From Amazon:

In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? 

I learned she was coming a couple of months ago and immediately put it on my calendar. She was going to be at the University of Mn Bookstore in Coffman Union – a place had I spent maybe less time in I might have actually graduated after 7 years. Maybe. Anyway, I know Coffman, I could do this.

And at the time it seemed so simple. How can attending a book signing be a challenge you ask?

Because, like The Bloggess, I also have a fair amount of anxiety. It isn’t crippling but it gets in the way of a lot of things and makes them much harder. It’s gotten much worse over the years as I’ve isolated myself more and more. At the end of the day, 7pm for this event, the last thing I want to do is go out, even if it’s for something I really want to do.

Does that even make sense?

So, by 7pm the idea of getting in the car, driving to campus, finding a place to park and then walking in late to the event (because I will be late, trust me) doesn’t sound like fun to me no matter who is there.

I even tried to justify not going by telling myself that of all people, The Bloggess will understand. She knows what it’s like to take to bed for a couple of days (I don’t, I’m a single mom and my kids still expect me to feed them and drive them to school and yell at them for not changing the toilet paper roll. If I were to take to bed I’d have to call one of their dads and there’s no way either of them would step in. In fact one of them would probably threaten to seek custody if I were to ask.) so she’d be totally ok with it if I didn’t show up.

No, she doesn’t know me (though she did wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook last year because, you know, we’re FB friends), she had no idea that I was going to be there so why I felt bad for not going to her event I really don’t know. I’d already bought her book (and you should to, you can get it here)  so what more could she want from me?

Sheesh, she’s demanding!

I forced myself to go anyway. As I said before I’ve been isolating myself for a while now and it’s getting old. I know I should go out and spend time with people my own age so I’m really thinking about making an effort. This seemed like a great opportunity a few months ago. Now that it was here not so much. Besides, even though I know I should get out more it doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t really like people that much so I’m not really sure where the payoff is. Anyway, I forced myself out of the house, into the car, on to the freeway, and into the parking garage where I thought I got a really good spot because it was right by the entrance to the parking garage and I could see Coffman Union just across a short walking bridge. The trouble was the parking garage is on sea level, or down by the river, while Coffman is on top of the hill. I had to walk  up about 15 flights of stairs (okay, 4) to get to the main level entrance of Coffman. By the time I got to the top I was so winded I was sure I was going to pass out and even had to fake a phone call outside before I walked in.

When I got to the bookstore (in the basement so I’ve basically come full circle but thank God they had an escalator) the event had already begun and there was no place to sit or stand. I made a beeline for the only spot I could find that was not going to get me called out for being late. I stood between a rather large Norwegian man with red hair and some women who looked as though they majored in Women’s Studies. I immediately dug in my purse to find my phone so I could take pictures but got distracted wondering if I left my keys in the car knowing full well I locked the car because my son gets upset with me for leaving it unlocked.

Now I had to find my keys.

Except when I tried to open my purse I got my sweater caught on the zipper and now I couldn’t move without pulling the thread out even more which happened to be right under my arm and the last thing I wanted to do was lose the arm of my sweater while trying to quietly and politely listen to Jenny Lawson talk about passing out at the gynecologist office. She kept repeating the word vagina which I don’t mind but while I’m at this event I’m composing this blog post and I fear using the word ‘vagina’ is just going to get more strange traffic here because believe it or not 70% of my traffic comes from people searching for the word ‘vagina’ and usually something really strange like ‘with teeth’. So, I’m worried about her excessive use of the word vagina and I still haven’t managed to free myself from my purse.

Of course I’m sweating at this point.

Everyone is laughing, the room us beginning to spin a little and I’m wondering how long do I have to stay here before I can leave without being obvious.

The answer is I can’t so I try to make the best of it and search for my phone again so I can get some pictures. I pull out my phone but realize no one else is taking pictures. I figure I must have missed the announcement about not taking pictures because there is no way a room full of younger women can resist taking pictures of anything.

And then I see one of the Women’s Studies woman pull out here phone and start taking pictures.

I take half a dozen grainy pictures (actually only three, and they all pretty much suck but I didn’t want to get busted for taking pictures when I wasn’t supposed to — though, I’m not sure if that was a rule or if people were just really polite) before I see the sign in front of me that says “This line for people who have already purchased a book” or something similar. In my haste to go unnoticed I got into the priority line for people who purchased the book in advance and bought a ticket to get first in line for a signing. I have purchased a book but not through the U of M bookstore. I got mine at Barnes and Noble and it was currently sitting on my dining room table, probably with a cat on top of it.

I have to get out of here. I already know I’m not going to stand in line for three hours to get the book signed (obviously, because it’s at home with a cat on it). I could buy a book and get it signed but I’m going to be last in line because I’m Minnesotan and even though I have budged into the first part of the line I’ll feel too guilty if I stay here (even though there isn’t any other place for me to go at this point).

I’m freaking out and now my phone is vibrating in my purse. It’s my 12 year old daughter who wants to know where I am and can I pick up some food on the way home? I tell her yes but feel bad that I am leaving even though I wasn’t really here, and am looking for an excuse to leave.

Something as simple as a book reading/signing should not cause so much anxiety that I need to go home (after picking up something to eat for the daughter, of course), but it does. I feel bad about it, again. This is not the first time I’ve left something because I started to sweat or my stomach started doing flip flops and my chest got all tight. It probably won’t be the last time either.

I’m upset with myself for leaving (though on the way out I purchase another book) but am actually pretty proud I even came out because I nearly talked myself out leaving the house.

If you’ve made it this far and would like a chance to win an unsigned copy of Jenny Lawson’s new book, Furiously Happy please leave a comment below.

TL;DR

Apparently I have a fair amount of anxiety, and sometimes it wins. Also, book giveaway, leave a comment.

* Petula Clark

** It was Kevin McHale, though I had to google it to see which one he was.