Writer’s Block Meet The Front Door

April 23, 2014 by  
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So, I was surfing the web via my emails last night, which turned out to be expensive, by the way. I ended up purchasing an Android tablet from NoMoreRack but it was only $62 including shipping. For my kid, not me. Because I believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the obnoxious. Apparently. Hm…the things I learn about myself when surfing.

Anyway. Digression. Back to the point.

In my perusing of the web via email links, I ended up downloading this PDF from Writer’s Digest. In it were prompts to kick that wicked block. So, I told myself…Self, you’re gonna do this. Get back in touch with your creative side which has been on hiatus for far too long. I’m trying to convince my Muse to pack up her luggage, drink a couple more of those frou-frou fruity drinks, get fanned a bit more by the cabana boy and come home to me. She’s thinking about it. In the meantime, I have to prove to her I’m ready to get busy.

So, I’m going to prove it to her. Muse, this is for you.

Dear Creativepation aka Blockage of the Writer’s kind,

It’s not time. You need to be gone. I have no more room for you in my life.

You see, once upon a time, I had ideas flowing to the point of insanity. I couldn’t keep up with all of them. Of course, I forgot to write half of them down but, that’s another story for another time.

Listen Pation…I can call you Pation, right? I am at this point in my life where  I have so many other things blocked and I really need  at least ONE thing flowing well. And since this creative writing thing is one way for me to relieve myself AND make a tiny bit of cash…you and I need to be through.

I wish I could say that it’s been lovely while it lasted. Truth is, it hasn’t. Any type of blockage is very uncomfortable, trust me. And that big lump in my throat and chest, the one caused by you stopping my ideas and words from flowing out easily? It just can’t happen anymore.

I’m going to ask nicely. Please…be gone with you. Find somewhere else to go. I’m afraid I’ve let you overstay your welcome, you’ve gotten far too comfortable sitting here like a lump of poop. I mean, sheesh…we haven’t even gotten to know each other. You just sit there, not speaking, glaring at me while drinking your drinks and smoking your smokes. That is NOT gracious houseguest behavior.

If you don’t leave quietly, I’m going to have to use brute force. I’m not sure what that means but I’m not afraid to figure it out.

So, not-so-dear Writer’s Block…

If you would be so kind as to be gone within the next 24 hours, I’d be exceptionally grateful.

And, no offense, of course. But, you are not welcome to come back. I just don’t see any reason to carry on our acquaintance, there was no benefit on either of our ends. Well, maybe yours…it gives you sick pleasure to cause this writestipation, doesn’t it?

Don’t answer that.

You know where the front door is.

Just leave.



Necessary Position

April 22, 2014 by  
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I think I’m in the middle of a funk. This in-between place of disappointment and excitement.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that my latest job only lasted 3 weeks. I have no idea what happened but I’m going to take it at face-value…they said it wasn’t me.

So…that is the 2nd time I’ve taken a contract position, only to have it end with those words. I’m going to try to keep believing that it wasn’t me, it was just the sticky situation I found myself thrust into. No, I won’t go into details, that would be unprofessional. I have my theories.

It’s not easy to rebound from these curveballs. As hard as I try, I still keep feeling like a failure. So, I’ve made a decision not to do anymore contract work. Either freelance from my home or a permanent, full-time position are the only things I’ll do. Otherwise, it’s just not worth the effort anymore. Sure, the money is nice. But the emotional impact it has on my aging soul…I’ll pass, thank you.

Life doesn’t ever seem to go the way we expect it to, does it? When I was younger, it was easier to go with the flow. Now, since I’m just a teensy bit older, I want to be able control the flow of my life. No clue how to do that. Maybe it’s impossible.

No, no depression here. Just a funk. A cross-roads that I’m still standing on, trying to decide which turn to make and I’m so very unsure as to which way to go.

Then there is this app. That’s the excitement part of my life at the moment. While I’m not going to go into the details of the app, I will tell you that I can’t wait to share it! The alpha phase has begun and I’ll be presented with the storyboards next week. From there, I will determine if I want to continue with this app development company or find another one.

Getting too excited about it is something I’m trying to hold off on doing. Only because every single time I get excited about something, it doesn’t go as expected. Just like that job I had for 3 weeks.

I’m trying to stay positive without counting eggs. That’s not as easy as it sounds.

Then there is the whole parenting thing.

Which takes up a lot of brain and emotional space.

That never goes as expected either. When we have our babies, we expect them to sort of do what we did. You know, school, college, career and marriage with the final two not necessarily in that order.

It’s sort of shocking when you realize your kids aren’t using your brain. They have their own. And they make their own decisions, sometimes without consulting you first. Decisions that aren’t necessarily what you would consider the wisest choice. But, this free will thing was even given to our children. And they aren’t afraid to use it.

The letting go part…the part where you, as a parent, have to say…it’s on you…

Not so easy.

But necessary, I suppose. And once these babies turn 18, they are considered adults. So, while the house rules apply at any age, as long as the roof is shared with the parents…there are just some things you can’t fight over anymore.

And there are just some things you give up the fight on.

Like school, for example.

It’s hard to let your babies fall, especially after you’ve fought so hard to keep them from doing so.

This in-between place I’m finding myself in…

The one where I’m not the mom of little kids anymore.

The one where I’m not successful in my own right.

The one where I’m fighting the process of aging that we all face eventually.

I know this is probably a phase, we all go through phases…it’s part of being human.

I’m uncomfortable here. In this phase.

I’m most comfortable when I’m in my happy phase.

Which generally is most of the time.

I don’t always do well when I’m outside my comfort zone.

My muse has shut up, creativity isn’t flowing and my books that I’ve started are sitting in draft.

I spend too much time wishing, these days. And not enough time doing.

I know, it’s only been a few days since I was told my position wasn’t necessary anymore.

I don’t know why I let those words have such an impact on me. Especially the ‘not necessary’ part. And I’m not sure that’s even what I was told, but it’s what I heard.

And yet suddenly, I’m feeling like none of my positions are necessary.

At the moment, I’m just trying to feel necessary again.

Dining with children

April 21, 2014 by  
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“Cool”est Kickstarter: ICETee

April 21, 2014 by  
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I see a lot of cool Kickstarter campaigns, but this one is my favorite! I love to run, but the summer months can be really hard because of the heat.  I either need to go before the sun comes up...

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Getting Ready for Reading (in two languages!)

April 17, 2014 by  
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This month's Multilingual Blogging Carnival focuses on teaching reading to multilingual or bilingual children. Since Elliot is only 4-1/2 years old, we're not yet working on reading...in either English or Spanish. But, I'm hoping that I'm doing the right things to set the stage for Elliot to become a reader in both languages: 

Reading, reading, reading: Tim and I are both readers, so Elliot is surrounded by books. Since we live in the US, he has more books in English. But, I've made sure that his Spanish-language collection is sizable and I make an effort to read at least one book in Spanish to him each day. To supplement our collection, we turn to the local library, which fortunately has some non-fiction children's books in Spanish, which are somewhat harder to find.
Elliot also has a subscription to a Spanish-language kids' magazine, which is a great way to continually bring new reading material in Spanish into our home.

Giving him audio books: Elliot enjoys listening to a CD as he drifts off to sleep. Sometimes, it's music, but sometimes, it's a bilingual or Spanish-language book on tape. He's listened to books by Alma Flor Ada so many times that he makes jokes (in Spanish) out of her name! And, when I read the books to him, he likes to chime in, "reading" some of the sections he's memorized.

Teaching the letters: At Elliot's Spanish immersion preschool, he learns the letters in Spanish. We also have several CDs in Spanish with letter, vowel and alphabet song (although I haven't found one as catchy as the classic alphabet song in English.) Although I'm realizing I don't do it as often as I should, I sometimes ask him to identify letters in Spanish from books or in public (but it's not that effective when the letters are spelling words in English).

Telling him I read in Spanish: I'm not sure if this has any effect, but I let Elliot know that I read books in Spanish (even without him) and I go to a Spanish-language book club monthly to discuss them. 

I guess my list of reading preparation is pretty short. But, Elliot is only four-and-a-half. Am I doing enough? Is there something else I should be doing?

For more perspectives on teaching reading to bilingual and multilingual children, check out the blogging carnival on Homeschool Ways on April 27. 

Nokia Lumia 1020 REVIEW

April 15, 2014 by  
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     I have been fortunate enough to be working  with AT&T. Recently, they provided me with a Nokia Lumia 1020 to test out. Knowing that I am not the biggest fan of a Windows...

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Out loud

April 15, 2014 by  
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I have never read my words aloud. I enjoy my safe place behind the laptop, telling stories when they come to me and sitting in front of a blank screen when they don’t.

Since November, I have been working with a team of women who have now become the closest of friends to bring stories TO A STAGE. What was I thinking? I was thinking that other women would read. They would share their stories and we would build the platform for them to do so. Things would be warm and sepia toned with breaks for tissues, hugs and chocolate.

This is all true, until the part of our process where I committed to getting on stage and reading something I had written as well. You see, I had an exit plan since the first day I was told that two of the directors/producers of the show could read. I nodded and took a deep breath and said “ooooookay.” Then I drove home and had a long conversation with my anxiety about how we would tactfully bow out of the discomfort of public speaking.

Sunday was our last rehearsal before the show (May 4th at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit at 3pm, doors open at 2 and you can buy tickets here). I had sent my piece to my co-directors weeks before, fully expecting to execute the Anxiety Plan and never read it at all. But weeks of listening to our amazing cast pour their hearts out chipped away at my crafty excuses for lack of participation.

I was scared and so were they. I might cry and many of them already had. I had never done this before and most of them hadn’t either. My ugly cry sometimes turned into a snort-laugh… that argument might still stand. I haven’t heard a cry-snort-laugh sequence out of anyone else in the group.

So I did it anyway. I stood in the wings of the stage Sunday afternoon and as I waited for my turn to read I was all alone with the reason I started pouring my heart out to begin with, my daughter. I felt Hadley so strongly as my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. The way that I don’t feel her as much anymore, six years removed from seeing her face. I listened to the beautiful, beautiful story read before mine and I peaked at the amazing faces of our cast in the audience and I walked out and read my words for the first time.

I cried and I did not complete the snort-laugh part of the sequence (thank God!) but I did give my voice to the words I’ve been placing here for years. It was humbling and scary and overwhelming but in the strangest turn of events, I can’t wait to do it again.

Saint Andrews Hall

I know I’m biased but Listen To Your Mother: Metro Detroit is going to be an amazing, life-changing event. Tickets are on sale here and we would love, love, love for you to join us. 

The Kindergarten Conundrum

April 14, 2014 by  
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Will Elliot be ready for kindergarten in the fall or would a Young 5s program be a better fit? This question is stressing me out more than you might imagine...unless you also have a child Elliot's age. (And if you do, I've probably already talked to you!)

Kindergarten is not at all what it was back in the day. When I was in kindergarten, it was morning-only. From what I remember, I learned my phone number and address, played dress-up, ate graham crackers and took a rest on a mat on the floor. Today, kindergarten is a seven-hour day and it's not about playing or getting ready for school like it used to be. It is school, with reading, writing, science, social studies and math.

Perhaps that's why the state of Michigan is gradually pushing back the deadline for eligibility from December 1 through September 1. This year, it will be October 1...so Elliot's early September birthday makes him eligible for kindergarten. However, many parents with kids whose birthdays are near the deadline, especially when they are boys, decide to delay the start of kindergarten for a year and give their children more time to develop by attending a Young 5s program.

The thing is: I don't necessarily agree with the trend. It creates a situation where you might have four-year-olds (whose parents signed a waiver for them to start early) in the same classroom as six-year-olds. It means starting high school at 15 and college at 19. And after all, somebody has to be the oldest and somebody has to be the youngest.

But, do I want Elliot to be the youngest? After all, I do often think his reactions to new and unfamiliar situations seem quite babyish. And, he seems quite a bit younger to me than kids at preschool who are six months older. Or is that his personality?

He's very smart...so I'm not really worried about the academic challenges of kindergarten. I worry more about his ability to suddenly be in school with twice as many kids as he's used to for triple the number of weekly hours. On the other hand, I worry that he might not be intellectually challenged if he's the oldest in his class (not right away, but later on).

So, I've attended a kindergarten readiness program and am reading a book. I've visited at least six schools looking for the best option for my baby. I plan to take him to the official kindergarten assessment at the local school as well as have a kindergarten teacher I met at an event give me her opinion.

On one hand, I think: it's kindergarten...relax! On the other, as many people have told me, this will be his formal introduction to school so I want it to be positive. I want him to feel confident and ready to learn.

Is he? Will he be? I'm not yet sure. 

Samsung Galaxy S® 5 Available for Preorder

April 8, 2014 by  
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New Samsung smartphone offering enhances mobile lifestyle. The Samsung Galaxy S 5 is now available for preorder. Customers can purchase the device for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new...

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April 7, 2014 by  
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For much of my life I had a lot of starting. With just as much stopping.

Maybe it could have been blamed on ADD.

Maybe not.

Maybe it was fear.

Maybe laziness.

Maybe what I would start just wasn’t the right thing for me.

I always began with gusto bordering on OCD.

I would throw myself into something and think that it would be my niche. The one thing I could do that would help produce some sort of income for my family.

The one thing I could do that would make me happy.

When that didn’t happen, I would give up.

You see, I always had this expectation that I would be wealthy.

Not that I would marry someone wealthy, although that would have been a bonus.

I just always assumed it would be my own personal wealth, one that I had created by my own creation.

Whatever that creation was.

And it would make me happy.

Because I would be complete for myself.

Beyond the fullness I feel from my family.

That expectation was unrealistic, I suppose.

My mom used to always tell me that something would come along. Something that I would be able to turn into a career.

A career that I would wake up excitedly to do.

A career that would give me a feeling of accomplishment.

After all, she turned her love of antiques into a thriving, successful business.

She was positive that would happen for me.

She was sure of it until the day she died.

So, I always kept trying.

And stopping.

But when I started blogging, I didn’t stop.

Not really.

Sure, it’s exceptionally inconsistent.

I blame that on my family. They get mad when I write about them.

It’s not so fun to write about myself, I’m not all that blog-worthy.

But, I kept blogging.

Then, blogging turned into this crazy thing called “microblogging”.

Then, suddenly…there was this thing called Social Media.

When people first started talking about this ‘social media’, I had no clue what it was they were talking about.

Then, I found out and was like…whoa, that’s what I’m doing.

I was freelancing.

I had people paying me to manage their pages.

And my mom’s words started coming to fruition.

I found my niche.

Social media.

Granted, I’m no guru.

I just sort of understand how to do it.

My technical words are ‘thingy’ and ‘whatchamacallit’ and I’m sure that half the time, I sound like an absolute unprofessional idiot.

But somehow, I found my way.

I didn’t give up.

I listened to and believed in what my mother told me.

Someday, I’d find my niche and make a career out of it.

And I have.

I’m not going to be independently wealthy from being a Community Manager but I don’t care.

I have this career that makes me so happy.

I’m getting paid to be happy.

I’m getting paid to do something that I love to do.

It doesn’t even feel like I’m working because of how much I enjoy it.

I mean, that’s the best job on the planet.

Even if this job ends in a month, that’s one month of happiness I can add to my resume of life.

I probably wouldn’t be able to add a one month gig to my real resume, though.

But wow, am I happy.





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