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Buy This Book Now!

January 24, 2017
Buy this book now!

OMG I haven’t even finished this book and I had to stop and tell you to go and buy this book now! 

Buy This Book Now!

Seriously, go now, I’ll wait.

Wait, if you buy it now you won’t come back. Wait a minute. Buy it after reading this which is only going to be a few more paragraphs because honestly, I want to get back to it asap.

What book?

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight.

Yeah, I might be on a bit of a self-help binge, but that’s okay, in fact it’s great. Get Your Sh*t Together is an anti self-help book by an anti-guru who happens to be funny as shit. If you liked You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, you will love Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight.

While both will get you fired up about getting down to business, they take a very different, albeit funny, approach. 

If you’re in a rut, want to break out and try something new, are tired of making excuses, or just really need a kick in the ass to do the things you already know you need to do — then buy this book now! Hell, buy them both, you’ll thank you, I promise.

Get Your Sh*t Together is a really quick read, or listen, that will help you to well, get your shit together. Sarah Knight will show you how to prioritize the things you need to do so you can do the things you want to do. 

You may have heard of Sarah Knight before, she also wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide).

It seems oh so simple, and really there is nothing she says that you don’t already know, but she lights a fire under your ass all while making you laugh out loud.

Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough. I do plan on writing a complete review as soon as I finish the book, which will probably be later this evening, so check back. Of course you don’t even need that, it’s awesome, trust me, and it will provide the motivation you need, right now, to do what you know you need to do. 

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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 Books Things I Really Like

Life Changing Books

November 3, 2016
life changing book

This year I celebrated my 50th birthday. I knew I was going to be making some life changes, but I wasn’t sure where to start, so I started reading. After nearly a year, I have this awesome list of life changing books and now I’m sharing them with you!

I’m only including non-fiction books here. Most can be found in the self help section of any bookstore. All of them made me feel as if the author was speaking directly to me. Which is, actually, a very comforting thought because if you think about it, that means there are a lot of us struggling with the same kinds of feelings, stress, anxiety and all that other crap that pops into your head when no one else is around.

These are the books that helped me realize I don’t have to believe the things I’ve been telling telling myself for the last 45 years or so.

Life Changing Books

 

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling
Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, but it also affects our physical health, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents’ chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or hazed, and growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical “fingerprints” on our brains.

The Power of Grit by Angela Duckworth

In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

To make the journey into the Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of this extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. We become connected to the indestructible essence of our Being, “The eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”

Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question and answer format to guide us. A word of mouth phenomenon since its first publication, The Power of Now is one of those rare books with the power to create an experience in readers, one that can radically change their lives for the better.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Wake up and take control of your life! From the bestselling author of Inner StrengthUnlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game, Anthony Robbins, the nation’s leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.

The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner

When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.
Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader.

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.

Your Erroneous Zone by Wayne Dyer

If you’re plagued by guilt or worry and find yourself unwittingly falling into the same old self-destructive patterns, then you have “erroneous zones” – whole facets of your approach to life that act as barriers to your success and happiness.

Perhaps you believe that you have no control over your feelings and reactions – Dyer shows how you can take charge of yourself and manage how much you will let difficult times and people affect you. Or maybe you spend more time worrying what others think than working on what you want and need – Dyer points the way to true self-reliance. From self-image problems to over-dependence on others, Dyer gives you the tools you need to break free from negative thinking and enjoy life to the fullest.

I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones

Stop listening to that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Stop worrying that you don’t have the perfect body, perfect job, perfect relationship, or perfect anything for that matter. Stop letting other people draw boundaries and limits around your life. And start living the life that you truly want (now!), the one you didn’t think you had the courage to imagine, but the one that’s absolutely possible! Including stories from thirty incredible women, Alexis has compiled everything she’s learned into one complete guide to being That Girl, the best version of you.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a 1937 personal development and self-help book by Napoleon Hill. The book was inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American business magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. While its title implies that the book deals with how to attain monetary wealth, the author explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. Business Week magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published. Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

An international bestseller with over five million copies in print, The Power of Positive Thinking has helped men and women around the world to achieve fulfillment in their lives through Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s powerful message of faith and inspiration.

In this phenomenal bestseller, “written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying, and worthwhile life,” Dr. Peale demonstrates the power of faith in action. With the practical techniques outlined in this book, you can energize your life—and give yourself the initiative needed to carry out your ambitions and hopes.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peoplehas captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are 9 key insights into life itself — insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially; one insight, then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth. Drawing on ancient wisdom, it tells you how to make connections among the events happening in your life right now and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimisim as you head into tomorrow.

 

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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.

 

 

 

Books Minnesota Nice

Do you Know your ACE Score?

October 7, 2016
Do you know your ACE score

Do you know your ACE score? Several months ago there was an article making the rounds on social media. With it was a test that determined your likelihood of specific diseases based on how much trauma you experienced as a child. The test measured your Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Do you know your ACE score? You can click here to take the test and to learn more about it. In a nutshell, what the CDC-Kaiser study found was that childhood trauma leads to the adult onset of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence.

Do you Know your ACE Score?

ACEs are common, nearly 64% of adults have at least one adverse childhood experience.

As your ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.

I scored a 6 on the test.

I saved the article, even purchased the book by the author of the article titled Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal. And then I promptly forgot about it.

Last week, in need of something to listen to while on my morning walk, I  started listening to Childhood Disrupted. On some level I absolutely knew that the traumas I endured during my childhood had everything to do with the struggles I face today, even if no one else believes me. Having a study prove it was incredibly gratifying and gave me a huge sense of relief.

I wasn’t just difficult, I didn’t just have a chip on my shoulder, I was not a loser (or if I was, it wasn’t completely my fault) and best of all, there exist ways to reverse some of the damage.

In addition to being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when I was 18, I also suffer from chronic back pain, joint pain, high cholesterol and I have struggled with my weight since I was a young child. I was bulimic by age 13. I have all kinds of inflammation, thankfully I do not have cardiovascular disease (yet), another extremely common ailment of those with high ACE scores.

Ongoing adversity in childhood leads to a chronic state of “fight, flight or freeze.” Researchers at Yale had recently shown that when inflammatory stress hormones flood a child’s body and brain, they alter the genes that oversee our stress reactivity, re-setting the stress response to “high” for life. This increases the risk of inflammation, which manifests later in cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.

I was 4 years old when my mother experienced anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to complications from pneumonia. The doctors were surprised she survived. However, she suffered a considerable amount of brain damage which caused short term memory loss (think Dory in Finding Nemo, though not as cheerful), loss of mobility and poor reasoning and decision making skills among other things.

We’d been living in Colorado when she got sick, my dad was stationed there for his service in the army. I have few concrete memories of that time, I remember chaos and uncertainty. While my dad got the house back in St. Paul adapted for my mother (relatively speaking), he sent me to live with one of his sisters and my brother to live with his other sister. Again, I remember little except for being picked on regularly by one of my cousins and missing my brother. I was sure my mother had decided to leave us and the woman in the hospital was some replacement. For years I did not believe she was my mother.

We all moved back into the house, The Big Green House, as my mother used to call it in songs she sang to my brother and me, and life went on.

I was a mess of anxiety, I was terrified of just about everything. My brother was no help. He enjoyed scaring the crap out of me – jumping out from behind doors and corners yelling Boo! and then laughing as I jumped a few feet in the air. He also loved to give me shit about my fear of fire and tornados. He especially loved to tease me in front of the neighbor kids who joined in. He enjoyed it so much that some 40 years later at his daughter’s graduation party, surrounded by those very same neighbor kids, he started teasing me about tornados again while everyone laughed.

I wasn’t afraid of fire and tornados because I was afraid for my own safety, I was afraid because I was often left alone with my mother at night. I knew if there was a fire, tornado or some kind of event where I had to get her out of the house quickly, that we would both die. The only saving grace about dying was that I wouldn’t have to endure the shame of failing the task from my father.

I was often left alone with a physically and mentally disabled mother because my father was out at one of the few gay bars in the city. He went there every night after dinner. When he left he’d announce he was putting the car away (in the garage) and would be back shortly, usually several hours later – after homework (that rarely got completed), after getting mom ready for bed, after getting ready for bed myself. My brother and I had horrible tooth brushing habits as kids because no one was there to tell us to brush our teeth.

While my father was at the bar I was expected to sit with my mother and fetch her cocktail after cocktail. By the end of the night she was either crying about my dad cheating on her or yelling at me for being such a horrible daughter. School should have provided a refuge for part of the day, but I was a bad student so it was just more shame and guilt.

I was 9 the first time my father told me he wanted to kill himself.

That’s when the anxiety really kicked into high gear. If he killed himself, I would be stuck taking care of my mother for eternity. I already knew things were different, that there was a part of me that was never going to be because of all that I had experienced. I was simply too tired to rise above any of it. I did my best to make his life as easy as possible so he didn’t kill himself.

Chronic toxic stress—living in a red alert mode for months or years—can also damage our bodies. In a red alert state, the body pumps out adrenaline and cortisol continuously. Over time, the constant presence of adrenaline and cortisol keep blood pressure high, which weakens the heart and circulatory system. They also keep glucose levels high to provide enough energy for the heart and muscles to act quickly; this can lead to type 2 diabetes. Too much adrenaline and cortisol can also increase cholesterol.

Too much cortisol can lead to osteoporosis, arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, depression, anorexia nervosa, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism and the shrinkage of lymph nodes, leading to the inability to ward off infections.

ACE scores are not about blame. My parents probably also had relatively high ACE scores too. I know my father would have scored at least a 3 and possibly a 4. I know less about my mother’s relationships with her parents, but I bet she scored at least a 2 or 3 on the test.

The good news is that our brains can heal. If the toxic stress stops and is replaced by practices that build resilience, the brain can slowly undo much of the damage.

Writing has been shown to help heal the brain.

Do you know your ACE score?

 

 

 

Books Reviews Things I Really Like

Romantic as Hell – A Review

March 11, 2016
Romantic as Hell Book Cover

Romantic as Hell – A Review

So maybe 6 or 7 months ago Rodney Lacroix asked me to review his newest book, Romantic As Hell. Rodney is one of my favorite authors so I was delighted to be asked. Of course if he had asked my via email or Facebook I might have responded sooner than the three months it took for me to respond through my Linkedin account where he messaged me.

Rod, or mooooooog, as many of you know him from the glory days of blogging, is one of the funniest writers out there if you like stuff written for 12 year old boys. He writes the best potty humor out there, bar none. Lately, maybe the last couple of years, he’s even worked in some really deep and heartfelt posts into his normal adolescent fare. It’s not really normal, most late 40 something men don’t talk this way. They may think it, (okay, the probably all think it) but they don’t usually share it. Whatever it is, it’s some of the funniest stuff you’ll ever read.

So, I was thrilled to be asked by Rod himself to review his latest book.

And Rod puts out a book like every six months it seems. It’s taken me nearly ten years to write one fucking book (and it’s still being edited!), but Rod can put out three in the same time it takes me to clean my garage. I’m a little jealous to say the least.

So last night I finally got to reading the book. I’d been looking forward to reading it ever since he sent it to me, but actually sitting down to read has been something I have not managed to do in a long, long time. Pretty much unless I can read while waiting at the doctor’s office I don’t read anymore. I still buy books, I just don’t read them. I want to, I really do, but there’s a lot of really good TV on these days.

Anyway, I read Romantic as Hell by Rodney Lacroix and laughed my ass off. I also got scared a few times (Rod gave me the Mobi version to read so I read it on my computer which meant I had to scroll down to read it. I scrolled down and was faced with this.

Romantic as Hell by Rodney Lacroix

I about crapped my pants.

Romantic As Hell is a book filled with surprisingly good dating and relationship tips.

No, really, it is.

Rodney has taken his wonderfully illustrious career at striking out in the dating world and shared it with the world so that men would no longer be compelled to present their significant others with gifts that are guaranteed not to get them laid.

Seriously guys, it’s not that hard. Don’t get us things that clean the house unless it’s a guy named Sven.

If you’re a guy and are striking out in your relationships you NEED this book. There really is some sound advice hidden within the side splittingly funny stories Rod shares at his own expense. Chicks will dig you if you buy this book, read this book and actually follow its advice.

Ladies, you don’t need to buy this book because you already know this stuff, but it is insightful to read it to see how a guy’s mind actually works. Not that you’ll even consider that an excuse for any of the mistakes they make, but it’s still interesting. You won’t need to read this book but you’ll want to because it really is hilarious. Go out and get some of those new Poise pee pads before you do.

If you haven’t read Rod’s other books Things Go Wrong For Me and Perhaps I’ve Said Too Much, you’ll want to snag those too. Just make sure to get more Poise pee pads when you do.

 

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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.

 

 

Blogging Books Things I Really Like Writing

Bloggers Who Write Books

May 20, 2015

This week is a great week for those of us who started blogging because we were going to write a book. I say that because two great bloggers have come out with books this week and each of them are not only great reads but inspiration for those of us who have a book but just haven’t gotten off our asses long enough to hit the publish button.

Or those who are terrified to actually publish in case the words we write might be offensive or hurt someone who treated us like crap. You know, those people.

Brittany Gibbons has written a hilarious memoir called Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It, about growing up fat with a set of slightly crazy parents, something I can related to on so many levels. You might have heard of Brittany before, she’s the blogger who vowed to have sex with her husband every day for a year and she’s the blogger who stripped down to her Spanx in a Ted Talk. Brittany also hosts an extremely popular Facebook page called Curvy Girls Guide and of course she has a blog. Brittany lets it all hang out and she does so without apologies or excuses. She’s a breath of fresh air and she’s all over the talk shows this week. If you’re looking for a fun read then pick up her book.

Jen Lancaster also has a new book out this week called I Regret Nothing: A Memoir. She’s written like a hundred books and still finds time to blog about her daily life. If you’re a blogger you know all about Jen and aspire to be like her. Back in the old days of blogging, when we all actually commented on each other’s blogs, you might have read her. Now everything happens on Facebook and no one leaves comments but when we did it was Jen we were trying to emulate. I haven’t read her book yet, I’m still reading Brittany’s but I’ve read her other books and they make me laugh so I don’t expect any less than that from this one.

Both of these books are inspiring because for those of who wrote a book or still want to write a book, it can happen to us too. You don’t need a publisher or a publicist either (though, lets face it, it helps a lot of you do) you can publish yourself and market it yourself. And, if you’re a blogger you know how to do those things better than most.

As some of you know I’ve written a book, a memoir, that I’ve shelved for various reasons that I said I wouldn’t talk about (but I so want to). I will publish, sooner than later, but there is still a lot of fear. Like Brittany’s story, I grew up fat and when you’re fat people treat you differently. Often those people are close to you, they are friends and family and while their behavior was shitty for a lot of us fat people we’ve tried to protect them from their own bad behavior. Reading Brittany’s book gives me courage to say fuck that shit and publish without worrying about what others think. As Anne Lamott said “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

 

Books Dumb Shit I Do Food No Carbs

Whole30 Success Story!

April 21, 2015
Whole30 book cover

I’m going to be a Whole30 Success Story — in about 30 days. If you haven’t heard of Whole30 don’t feel bad, I just found out about recently and learned it’s been a thing since 2009. Basically Whole30 is cutting out all processed foods for 30 days. You can eat meats, fruits and vegetables and that’s about it. Which wouldn’t be that bad if you had been born a few hundred years ago, before super processed foods became a way of life for us.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

I can give up carbs like breads and pastas. I’ve been living that way (for the most part) for decades. It’s the other things I’m going to have to give up that make me a little nervous about taking the Whole30 challenge. No crackers, no chips, no beans, no corn, no dairy (ouch!), no wine (really ouch!), no nuts and no soy. There are more things you can’t have like rice but I haven’t eaten rice since my second divorce and even then I didn’t like it.

I’m not going to chronicle each day of the Whole30. I’m not going to because we all remember my 30 days without wine and chocolate (and that they lasted for about a week if memory serves me). I do think giving up the wine is going to make this challenge successful. Even though I rarely have more than 2 glasses of wine that’s enough to help me make poor food choices at night, while watching TV and mindlessly surfing the net. It’s much easier to justify a couple of handfuls of goldfish crackers when you’ve had a little wine and you aren’t really focused on anything. So, I won’t post often about it (unless I need to complain), probably an update midway through and then at the end.

I’ve tried many diets before, and I know this isn’t billed as a diet so much as a way of life, but I usually give up or give in after a small success of losing a few pounds. I’ve been losing and gaining the same 5 pounds for the last three years. And that barely touches the baby weight I’m trying to lose that’s going on 13 years now.

Losing weight is hard. Eating healthy after a life of unhealthy eating habits is also hard. I know what I need to do but I’m not always able to do it. But, I was able to quit smoking by going cold turkey. I didn’t even plan on quitting I just decided not to smoke anymore and it’s been four years. I still think about smoking every now and then but I have gone so long without it it’s only a small tickle in the back of my brain. I suspect Whole30 is similar with regard to sugar and processed foods.

I’ve gone cold turkey with carbs before and had success but then life got in the way and well, here we are. I don’t know why this time is any different except it is. I’m not just doing it for the 13 year old baby weight but also because I have joint pain, I don’t sleep well, I have occasional anxiety and I don’t want to take medication for any of it. I’m also heading into menopause in the next few years and I’d like that ride to be as smooth as possible. Whole30 is supposed to make all of those things possible.

Wish me luck and stay tuned!

If you’ve done the Whole30 and want to share your success story, or not so success story, here I’d live to hear it.

Books Events Things I Really Like WTF?

Best End of the Year Lists for 2013

December 12, 2013
cute internet cat, Zelda the cutest kitten ever

Ah, the end of the year — there is little news. Government has all but gone home for the holidays (making our government actually way more efficient) and all the 24 hour newscasts have nothing to report on except which words we want to ban, are overused or most annoying (twerking wins hands down in my book).

Since there is little else going on the world to talk about we have these great end of the year lists:

If you still watch TV there is this list of Best TV of 2013 from Huffington Post. I don’t watch much TV anymore so most of these shows I haven’t watched. They don’t have the two shows that in my opinion are the best, Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory, but that might just be because they are too busy watching BBC. The list probably should have been called Best of BBC TV Shown in the US.

Looking for a good book but none of your friends read anymore so they can’t actually recommend one to you? Then check out Goodreads Best Books of 2013. There are some wonderful books on this list. I have many of them sitting on my nightstand for months now. I’ll get to them one of these days.

If you’re looking for a movie then the go to place is IMDb. When watching a movie at home I have my iPad on my lap and have IMDb open so I can find all the bloopers, see who is in the movie and what other movies they have been in. Sure, I don’t get much out of the movie I’m watching but that’s ok. I’m hoping the movie theaters will figure out a way to incorporate IMDb into the movie going experience. If I have to pay $7 for popcorn I’d really like my IMDb. Here is there list of best movies for 2013. I’ve seen the top two and they are both fantastic movies.

Worst movies of the year? You’ll want to see Rotten Tomatoes list of worst movies for 2013. After Earth tops the list and I wholeheartedly agree. God, it looked good in the trailer! What a disappointment. And what the hell was that weird accent Will Smith had through parts of the movie? It was almost like Kevin Costner’s British accent in Robin Hood.

And finally the worst words and phrases of 2013 from Time. I have to admit I don’t know some of these. WTH is FOMO? I’m not going to bother to look it up if it’s already getting banned but clearly I’m not on top of pop culture these days. I still, and forever will, overuse the word awesome because I came of age in the 80s.

What are your best and worst of 2013?

 

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Books Things I Really Like

Who Wrote the Book of Love?

June 3, 2013

Who wrote the book of love? I’ll tell you who did. Joseph Szenasi wrote it. Actually he wrote The Book of Love: A Practical Guide to Creating the Relationship You Want.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand their partner better and understand themselves better. It’s an easy to read  and easy to understand book about the human heart. This handy guide helps explain why we do the things we do when we are falling in love, when we are in love and when we love no more.

Written in a safe and friendly tone, this book doesn’t preach or judge. It simply informs the reader why love works and why it sometimes doesn’t.

You can get a free digital copy of the Book of Love today at Amazon. Click here for your free copy of The Book Of Love by Joseph Szenasi. If you find this book helpful please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com.

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